◀  No. 13465 Apr 1998 Clue list No. 1355  ▶


NEATEN (Printer’s Devilry)

1.  H. Freeman: A P/D’s to result from closed passages (apnea).

2.  M. Barley: Guys, being fi/t, shouldn’t go downing ale!

3.  E. J. Burge: What worries batsman’s ha/d attacking a bad patch (ref. Shane Warne).


J. R. Beresford: In Hamlet, Ophelia goes in – sa/d!

C. J. Brougham: Cream buns during Strauss opera? Aria d/one for, Pavarotti scoffed the lot (ref. ‘Ariadne auf Naxos’).

P. Cargill: ‘Silence!’ said Da/d, having last word (ref. ‘Hamlet’).

E. Cross: With exercise, not overdo/se, muscle must be relaxed.

R. Dean: Having stomach pain? So/othing and settling medicine worked.

N. C. Dexter: Now clinic’s dismissed obnoxious otologist, everyone feels fi/t again (ENT).

A. J. Dorn: The Coliseum’s audience takes to the bar: I to/o sup, and down glass (ENO’s up-and-down Glass).

E. G. Fletcher: New winnings boost mi/ner’s worth (winning = opening new coal seam).

R. R. Greenfield: In an anglers’ bar I heard ‘… one whi/ch got away’

C. R. Gumbrell: At the Eisteddfod it’s possible a competitive alto’s rendition’s outdo/ors.

R. Heald: Distance runner was forced to retire by ti/de rising one foot (tinea).

R. Jacks: With difficult class, conscientious teacher may not be sa/d, of course.

M. Jones: Egon Ronay inspectors candi/d – less good restaurants.

F. P. N. Lake: Manic-depressive under therapy was sa/d, of course.

D. F. Manley: After ninth life the luckiest pussy’s still not go/t his beckoning!

R. Phillips: An object of Commonwealth scorn is Go/och’s departure (ref. Enoch Powell).

Mrs J. E. Townsend: Foodie scoffed morel, a sag/o pudding after.

J. R. Tozer: Careful investment could earn o/f old increased return.

R. J. Whale: Having one over the eight may befi/t handsome guys – get legless!

Dr E. Young: All those joining carpenter had go/d of course (ref. Jesus, Walrus and Carpenter).


Mrs K. Bissett, J. G. Booth, Mrs A. Boyes, C. A. Burgess, Dr J. Burscough, B. Burton, Mrs M. J. Cansfield, W. R. Chalmers, C. A. Clarke, M. J. Clarke, C. W. Clenshaw, R. Coelho, Mrs J. M. Critchley, A. J. Duncum, C. M. Edmunds, Mrs D. I. Fenter, Dr I. S. Fletcher, P. D. Gaffey, Ms R. Gardiner, P. Giaccone, B. Grabowski, D. R. Gregory, Dr I. G. Higginbotham, A. Hodgson, R. C. Hope-Jones, G. Johnstone, T. H. Keeley, A. Knott, J. P. Lester, J. C. Leyland, P. R. Lloyd, R. M. Luty, D. J. MacKay, G. R. Mason, K. McDermid, G. D. Meddings, J. R. C. Michie, C. G. Millin, S. Naysmith, G. M. Neighbour, R. J. Palmer, D. Price Jones, P. E. Radburn, D. R. Robinson, J. H. Russell, G. L. Scullard, P. L. Stone, Dr I. Torbe, Mrs M. Treanor, Dr A. J. Varney, A. J. Wardrop, Mrs M. P. Webber, I. J. Wilcock, G. H. Willett.

289 entries, almost no mistakes. The welcome return of an old favourite, clearly. Many thanks for all the appreciative comments. The special mind-set needed for solving (and setting) PD clues tends to make it a lengthier process, but one I’ve always enjoyed. The reason you don’t get more of them is quite simply the time they take to construct. The temptation to keep tinkering with clues is quite strong. Significantly, your favourite clue of mine was the one for ESTHETE, which came to me immediately and needed no reworking. (The same, I think, was true of Mr Freeman’s first prize-winner, a lovely idea which occurred to no one else.) The puzzle held some of you up longer than it might have done because of at least two possible (if slightly less convincing) alternative answers: KHAN for OVER (‘steak handy’ for ‘stove ready’, and NILOT for NOLES (‘a mini lots’ for ‘a mino less’). Quite unintentional on my part, I do assure you. One competitor maintained that my clue to ONE-STEP was faulty on the grounds that the undevilled version requires a second ‘s’ in the middle (‘crowd stones Stephen’), but it is surely not uncommon in English for singular ‘group’ nouns such as ‘crowd’ to take a plural verb?
The main weaknesses in clues submitted were the usual ones: failure to observe my stated preference for clues in which the breaks before and after the word omitted (before and after omission) do not occur at the ends or beginning of words in the clue (e.g. ‘2000 A/D: to the millennium!’, where before omission there is a break after ‘a’); and clues in which the sense of the undevilled version is sacrificed to the sense of the devilled version, or ones in which neither devilled nor undevilled versions make a great deal of sense. Ideally, of course, both readings will be meaningful, but if one of them has to be a bit odd it should always be the devilled version. ‘All over the UK rai/n is beating’ is to me clearer than the staccato syntax of ‘All over! The Ukraine – a tennis beating’, even though one understands what is being described. Overall, though, there was a splendid range of ideas, making it a hard competition to judge. The announcement of the results was delayed, not because I was ill or away, but because there was no postal delivery on Easter Monday and I simply didn’t have enough time to judge the competition properly in what was left of that week.
Apologies for getting the slashes wrong way round in the Ximenes website address on the Internet in last month’s slip. I’m not sure how that happened. Derek Harrison, who set it up, asks me to say that anyone who signs the guest-book on the site gets e-mail updates. Apologies, too, for the rather joky headers that now appear regularly above my puzzles in the Observer. They are none of my doing and just silly, in my view. If I can get them dropped, I will.


The Azed Cup

M. Hodgkin wins First Prize in competition 2560.


Bojo’s beloved going nuts about bride-chamber at Number Ten – outdated stuff!

This year’s honours table

The current Azed competition closes on Saturday 7th August

🏆  AZED  No. 2,564  1st Aug

All online Azed puzzles

Dr Watson reviews Azed 2560

From the archive

Arab sheik uses fancy —— as a water carrier (6)

Second prize winner by C. G. Millin in competition 1078